Agencies mark progress

Mid-Session Review

An update on agencies' progress in implementing the President's Management Agenda reveals significant but uneven improvement across government, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

For the first time, the Mid-Session Review, which the White House submitted to Congress July 15, includes a chapter on the management of federal agencies. The chapter follows through on the management focus of the Bush administration's fiscal 2003 budget request, and provides an update on the color-coded scorecard first released in the budget.

The scorecard sets out specific requirements for agencies to receive a "red," "yellow" or "green" score in the five areas of the President's Management Agenda: strategic workforce management, expanded use of e-government, increased competitive bidding of government services, improved financial performance and linking performance to budgets.

In February, the National Science Foundation received the only green for its financial management efforts. OMB has updated agencies' scores in this new report.

The update in the Mid-Session Review also outlines additional requirements for assessing agencies' progress on each of their initiatives. To get a green score in regard to progress, the initiative's implementation must proceed according to the plan agreed upon with OMB. Initiatives that received a yellow score had some setbacks in meeting their schedule. And those that received a red score are "in serious jeopardy" and are "unlikely to realize objectives absent significant management intervention," according to the report.

Every agency is making significant progress on at least one of the President's Management Agenda items -- only two agencies received no green marks for progress -- but several are in danger of not meeting performance goals they set for themselves, according to the report.

NASA achieved the most improvement. After being one of several agencies that received all red scores on the baseline scorecard, it is the only agency to receive all green scores for improvement.

Some agencies, such as the Justice and Transportation departments, suffered initial delays because of the focus on homeland security and the war against terrorism. The Agriculture Department has made the least progress toward its goals, and received red progress scores on three out of its five initiatives.

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